The front office of the Tampa Bay Rays will deny it, but it’s getting kind of obvious there’s a fire sale going on with the Bay Area’s baseball team. Evan Longoria’s departure to San Francisco’s Giants was a bit expected, but no one seemed to expect the “purge” of Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi, and Stephen Sousa Jr. to separate ball clubs.
This is a club and an ownership that desperately wants out of the outdated Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, that’s for sure. The club has pitched the idea of moving to a new indoor stadium that would be built in Ybor City (a historic part of Tampa on its southeast side) that would have the look of an outdoor arena, such as the new stadium recently built for the Minnesota Vikings.
Absent that idea becoming reality and the $700-million bare minimum it would take to build the stadium there, I think the Rays would move elsewhere in the next decade. Las Vegas? San Antonio? Montreal? Portland, Oregon? Northern New Jersey? Who knows?
I’d like to see the Rays stay in Pinellas County, but that’s a ship that has apparently sailed already. Keeping the team in Tampa Bay should now be the top priority, even if that means the small move over to Tampa. But with all of these trades taking place in such short order, I kind of wonder if the ownership of the club wants to move the franchise to another city by decimating what’s left of its fan base.